Over the last week or so, I've been watching a fair bit of the Tour de France on OLN TV. When OLN launched a few years back, it was The Outdoor Life Network. As their programming expanded, they shortened that (thankfully) to OLN TV. But as of September, as they've seemingly been telling me every 10 minutes for several hours each morning, they're becoming Versus. Quoting from their press release:
Versus was the name that consistently rose to the top in focus group after focus group. Sports fans felt it was not only strong, but that it conveyed an idea and an energy that suggests a network experience centered on competition.
While I certainly don't disagree with the fact that the name suggests a network experience focused on competition, I'm not so sure that makes it a great name for a network. Personally, I think it just sounds silly, and it will make watercooler conversations more difficult. "Hey, did you catch that NHL game on Versus last night?"..."Is Versus going to show the Tour today?" Maybe it's just me, but Versus as a network name just seems wrong, somehow.
What's really sad is that they probably spent a fair bit of money on the research and focus groups to find their new identity. Add in the costs of rebranding all your merchandise, print ads, and online graphics, and we're talking about a huge investment of capital. And all of that for Versus? If we're going to use full English words, why not Compete or Battle or Strive or Match?
Perhaps I'm old fashioned, but I prefer network names that aren't full-on words. Give me ABC, NBC, ESPN, TNT, etc. over Discovery (though as words go, that one's pretty good), Lifetime, or Biography. Why? I'm not sure, other than they're easier to work into conversation without worrying about context, and they're much quicker to type :).
I guess I'll have to adjust, but Versus will always probably always be OLN around our home. And speaking of OLN, I have to get back to the time trial now!